Friday, January 30, 2009

It's Friday

Today is a catch up day. Someone asked about Morgan's leg. At Christmas she was diagnosed with a torn tendon in her ankle. She's doing great. She's not limping or showing any signs of pain. We had to stop her pain meds early because they seemed to be interacting with her anxiety meds. I lifted her on and off furniture and carried her down the stairs. That's when I realized how much weight she's gained, so Morgan has been on a diet since the start of January. Yesterday she had a weigh in and she's lost two pounds.

I think Morgan has been grieving over Monty's death. She seemed to have a setback in dealing with her anxiety. She had some of her 'crazy' episodes when she was out of control and didn't seem to know where she was. We're helping her thru those times by leashing her to us, so she doesn't get lost.

Sometimes it pays to whine a little. Last week I shared my enormous pile of unfinished baby items. Several blogging friends said they would help if they lived closer. I thank them. One nearby friend read the blog that day and called to volunteer. Yeah !! As soon as the ice melts we're going to have a finishing bee with hot tea and hot gossip.

Speaking of UFOs, I've decided to tackle one or two a day and plow thru them. Here are a couple that I finished up this week.

This one is a pint sized poncho for a baby, maybe 3 or 4 months old. It was knit, I just added fringe.

Here's another little poncho, slightly larger than the pink one. I think I need to add yellow fringe to this one. I hate fringing, but this just needs something more. This is an ancient pattern that I wrote out on a napkin in a restaurant one day. I've made dozens of these in toddler size and sold them for extra cash when I was younger. I found the napkin one day last year when I was going thru a box of old letters.

I made this last night while watching CSI. It's for a specific purpose, but it's a secret until next week.

I'm starting a project tonight that I've been thinking about for a long time. First I have to wade thru the library where my yarn stash is spread out and locate the appropriate yarns. I also have a sewing project that I want to get started on. I'm finally going to conquer my fear of that new sewing machine.

Sky has been vomiting every day for the past week. I talked to Dr Nicki yesterday about it. He inhales his food. I set his bowl down and by the time I put Noah's down, Sky's finished. I'm sure he's just eating so fast that it's coming back up. I fasted him for 24 hours, then started hand feeding him one piece at a time, but he still just swallows it without chewing. Now I have him on special food for a few days and I'm getting him one of those bowls designed with bumps in it to slow him down. So far today he hasn't vomited. If it continues, he'll go visit the Doctors on Monday for a check up.

Tsar is spending as much time as possible outside. Last night at 11:30 he wanted me to play with him. He was racing around the yard, then would come up to me and toss snow toward me. He wanted me to kick snow on him. Then he grabbed a stick and started throwing it in the air and catching it. I wanted to go to bed. I had to play for a few minutes before he'd come in. I think he's looking too thin and I'm trying to get him to eat more. I never thought I'd be begging a dog to eat.

There's nothing new with Fudge. I just liked this picture. He and I are going to start our training again. We've slacked off since the trial. Now I just occasionally give him the commands. I want to get back into a real routine so we're ready for the next trial. We're going to get that title this time.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Girls

Last week you met my boys, today I'll introduce the girls. My girls are much rougher and tougher than the boys. They have very strong personalities and are each very different.


Samba is the mother of the pups. She's the leader of the pack of ten and lets them all know it. If someone gets out of line, she'll growl or flash her teeth. Even though she's smaller than any of her pups, she'll put them on their backs in submissive poses if she thinks they need some discipline.

Samba is the most loyal dog I've ever known. She stays by my side at all times and if I have to leave her behind when I go out, she lets out a heartbreaking cry, then I can hear her sobbing as I go down the steps. Rob has told me that she waits by the door all the while I'm gone.

When Rob takes the dogs outside without me, I always have to walk Samba to the door and tell her it's OK to go. If I don't she'll stay with me instead of going out to play with the others.

Samba loves to ride, but is restless in the car. She wants to be there immediately. If she could talk she'd be asking, "Are we there yet? How much longer?"

Her favorite time of the day is dinner. Samba loves to eat. She has opened the pantry door and gotten into the dog food and eaten until she got sick. She likes kids because she sees them as good sources of food at her level.


Tess is beautiful. She's probably the prettiest of all our dogs, but we have fewer pictures of her than any of the others. She's shy and seems to avoid the camera, but she also is always in motion. Tess loves to run and jump and never stops. She will retrieve a ball for hours, always bringing it directly back to the thrower.

Tess has the sweetest, gentlest manner of all the pups. She loves to cuddle and her very favorite thing is to have her belly rubbed. She's easily distracted and has to be reminded several times each meal to eat. She'll see something and wander off to investigate and forget about her food. Her training is taking longer than the others, too, because she is so easily distracted. If I give a command it takes a while for her to process it and perform it. Once she does it, I have to be careful with my praise. If I'm too enthusiastic with praise, she'll jump up and run in circles with excitement. Tess needs a calm atmosphere to work in.

Tess has some physical problems. She has deformities in her legs. We had hoped to show her, but when she was about three months old she developed a strange walk with her front legs spread far apart. At first the vet thought it might be just laziness and that she would outgrow it, but it continued to get more pronounced.

X-rays showed us that there is a curvature to the bones in her front legs. It seems that sometimes the bones grow at different rates and the longer bone curves to accommodate the shorter one. Now that she is mature, you can feel the curve. We x-rayed the back legs, too. The hips look good, but her knee joints are out of alignment. She has a strange, unattractive gait, but it doesn't stop her. She runs as fast as any of the others and is always on the go. We know that in the future Tess will probably have some arthritic problems, but we're ready.


Rob declared Lola the most beautiful puppy he's ever seen. Today she's a big sturdy girl who loves to run and play. She has a gorgeous coat, but Lola isn't the best behaved dog. She's stubborn and she has selective hearing. We're working on that.

Lola started obedience class last summer, but didn't make it through. She was distracted and distracted the other dogs with her jumping and spinning. She does know some commands, but is slow to respond, hoping I'll change my mind and she won't have to do it. We have to be firm with her and be sure to follow through.

Lola loves to play ball, but gets tired of it after a few throws and runs away with the ball. She is a persistent thief. She counter-surfs and anything she can reach is in danger. I always have to be aware of where Lola is and what she's showing an interest in.

Norma Jean

Norma Jean is the happiest dog in the world. She has never had a bad day. Nothing gets this dog down. Tell her she's been bad, so what? Take something away from her, OK she'll find something else. Lola doesn't want to play with her, she'll go play with Tess. She takes things as they come. She's very much like her father, Fudge.

Norma Jean has always been my special dog. We were worried about her at birth because the puppy before her was injured during birth and didn't survive. She was the last one born and I held my breath, but she was strong and healthy. In fact, she was the largest and acted like a little bulldozer pushing the others pups out of her way so she could get to the best food source. When she was only two weeks old Dr B told me that she was too fat and I should hold her for two minutes while the others got a headstart on nursing.

Norma Jean is a messy dog, she likes to roll in the grass and in mud. She can't stay away from water and I am always catching her with her feet in the water bowl. I try to stop her before she starts paddling and sending water flying all over the room. I'm hoping to get her and Tess to the lake this year so they can really enjoy the water.

Yesterday she decided she needed to dig the trampoline out from under all the snow. None of the others were interested in helping her, so she worked on it by herself for quite a while.

Norma Jean lives to please. She loves people and just wants to play and be loved. She's a rather strange looking dog with her huge white face, but she's so friendly that most people can't resist her.


Bailey is a loner. She's very independent and likes to take a toy and go off by herself to play. She will join in a run around with the others sometimes, but she often just watches. She's always been that way. Before her eyes opened she was attempting to climb out of the whelping box. We had a rail around the sides of the box so the pups could get under it and not get squashed by Samba. Bailey would get one leg up on the rail and try to drag herself up onto it.

The day after her eyes opened, she managed to climb out. There has been almost no containing her since. At three and a half weeks we moved them to a pen in the kitchen. It had two foot high wire sides. By the time she was five weeks old she could climb out. She has also learned to climb ladders. She loves to dig and has criss- crossed the yard with her trenches. I watch closely that she doesn't dig near the fence. She is the best candidate to escape.

Bailey does not play ball. She takes her ball and finds a quiet spot to play with it. She spends hours hunting for mice and moles and loves to track rabbits and squirrels. She goes back and forth over their tracks endlessly. She has caught a bird on the fly and even watches bugs in the grass. She's a bit cool with strangers and needs to get to know them before she warms up. She is very quick to learn commands, but if she's hunting, she'll ignore us. She's a thief and is so fast that she'll get away with something before you realize it's gone.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

We Have Snow

Oh Boy, do I have happy dogs!! Overnight we had snow and this morning it was a wonderful surprise for the canine members of the family. Rob and I were somewhat less overjoyed. There's a nice thick layer of ice under the snow and we still can't get the car up the hill, even with four wheel drive.

Here they all are racing around the yard together when we first let them out.

Tess and Lola and Noah wanted to play ball, so here I am getting ready to throw the ball. Yes, I'm wearing my garden gloves. I left my winter gloves in my other jacket and didn't want to miss the action. It was too cold to go without gloves, so I grabbed these off the shelf in the garage. They aren't very warm, but they worked to keep my hands dry.

Sky with his ears flapping as he runs.

Samba and Morgan enjoyed the snow as much as the younger dogs.

Trying to point is useless with these dogs. I tried to point out the ball to Samba, but she just comes to check out my finger.

Tsar is so happy. This is the kind of weather he lives for. In the summer he just goes out in the morning and evening. When fall arrives he starts spending more time outside, often playing by himself. When winter arrives he wants to be out all the time. We'll leave him out for an hour at a time as long as I can watch him from the window.

Fudge likes the snow, too.

They all like to stay out until snowballs start to form around the pads of their feet. Then they're ready to come in and thaw out. Everyone finds a warm spot to nap.

Tsar doesn't want to come inside. It's so nice out.

OK, he'll come in, but he's bringing his stick with him.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ice Day

We're having an ice storm. It started around 3 Pm yesterday and continued all night. Missouri has really rotten weather in January. We moved here ten years ago during an ice storm and were stuck in the house for about two weeks. We live on a steep hill and the street was too icy to drive up.

Two years ago we had a doozy of an ice storm that broke virtually every tree over twenty feet high. We were without electricity for twelve days. The pups were little and couldn't go outside, so we had them corralled in the kitchen. What a time that was.

Last year a tornado went by. We didn't get hit by the tornado itself, but had over $10,000 worth of hail damage to the roof, deck and fence. Monty and I spent that one huddling in the closet, both scared silly.

This storm doesn't seem to be too bad, yet. Rob and I can't stand up outside, but the dogs hurry out and right back in as soon as possible. I thought we might have a problem last night. I let them all out after feeding them. Nine of them came back, but Tsar had gone down the hill to relieve himself and couldn't get back up the hill. He kept sliding back down. He's so smart, though. He went over to the side and stayed close to the fence. There wasn't as much ice there and he was able to make it up. He didn't want to go out again until bedtime.

These are some old pics of Tsar, but I'm posting them for a reason.

The one below is one of my favorites. As you can see, Tsar is big and black and hairy. His dad was a Lab/Chow mix and his mom was a Husky. He seems to have inherited a lot of the Husky traits. He's stubborn, but gentle. I have a real problem with his eating habits. He chooses to only eat about three times a week. He'll go two or three days refusing food. There is no way to entice him to eat if it's one of his 'no food' days. It used to drive me crazy. When he was younger I used to drag him to the Vet, convinced there was something wrong. Now I feed him a high calorie food developed for working dogs so I know he's getting enough calories when he does eat. He's maintained his weight for several years, and his annual bloodwork comes back great, so I quit worrying about him.

I've been working on a cross stitch piece for the past week and I finished it on Sunday. Here it is. I'm pleased with it. I think it really resembles him. What do you think?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

When Good Ideas Go Bad

I knit a lot of baby items for charity. Until last year I would knit a sweater, then stop and do the finish work, ribbons, buttons and trim, then go on to another item. Last year I had a great idea. I would knit until I either got tired of knitting or my wrists began to hurt, then I would gather together all the items I had finished knitting and do the time consuming trim work. This would be a great time saver and since it seems I always finish knitting just at a point in the evening when I don't want to go to the studio and get the trims out, it would be much more efficient. I could just turn to another pattern and keep on knitting. Bad idea!!

This is the result. I wound up with an enormous stack of sweaters, bonnets, bootees and blankets that were unfinished.

These all need ribbons, buttons and trims. The blankets still need the ends woven in.

What I really need is to invite a friend over, put the trims out on the table, make a pot of tea or open a bottle of wine, or both, and gossip all afternoon as we trim these items.

What I will actually do is spend the next two or three days trimming them myself. Rob offered to help, but I'm afraid he might get too creative and then I'd just have to redo them.

I don't really mind doing this except that it gets sort of boring after two or three, so I need to stretch it out. I like the assortment of buttons I've collected for baby stuff.

These are some of the ribbons for the sweater necks, bonnet strings and bootee ties. I enjoy picking the colors to use on each set.

I have some laces and trims for some of them. I don't look forward to this task, but once it's done, I'm sure I'll be pleased with them.

I have learned my lesson and from now on I'll do the finish work when the knitting is finished. It has not saved any time or energy doing it the other way. This has been my guilty little UFO secret that I've tried not to dwell on for a year. One of my resolutions was to finish my UFOs and this is what I had in mind.